Information for Restrained Persons

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 What Is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order is an order issued by a court that can command you to:

  • Not have a gun or firearm
  • Pay child support
  • Move out of the house
  • Not contact or go near the protected person

Restraining orders (which may also be known as “protective orders”) are orders issued by a court to protect people, businesses, or the general public from harm in situations where there is an allegation of domestic violence, stalking, harassment, assault, or sexual assault.

A restraining order allows the court to order a person to remain at a certain distance from another home, person, or group (such as all family members in a domestic violence situation). A restraining order might include a “no contact” provision, preventing any contact via phone, email, letter, or delivery.

What if I Have a Gun or Firearm?

You must either sell or turn in your gun or firearm to a licensed gun dealer.

Firearms include:

  • Shotguns
  • Assault weapons
  • Rifles
  • Handguns

When Can I Tell My Side of the Story?

At the mandatory hearing, you can tell your side of the story. Before the hearing, you can also answer the Temporary Restraining Order. Review your options with an attorney.

Are There Different Types of Restraining Orders?

There are several different types of restraining orders that a court might use:

  • Temporary Restraining Order (TRO): This restraining order is in effect until the court can hold a hearing to review the facts surrounding the need for the order. A TRO usually has a set expiration date or lasts until the court hearing. If a long-term restraining order is needed, the court will decide how long it should last at the hearing.
  • Emergency Protective Order (EPO): An emergency protective order is a restraining order issued by the police after responding to a domestic violence case scene. An EPO is effective immediately and usually lasts no longer than a week. In that time, the person can file for a long-term order.
  • Permanent Restraining Order (PRO): Permanent restraining orders are put into effect after a court case is finalized and will last for years, if not forever.
  • Domestic Violence Restraining Order: These are specifically ordered after a domestic violence case. These orders can last for years, or in some cases, for the abuser’s lifetime. The order can protect children, other family members, roommates, or the domestic violence victim’s current romantic partners.
  • Civil Harassment Order: When victims need protection from people who are not family members, the type of restraining order is a civil harassment order. These abusers are usually friends, acquaintances, or strangers.
  • Workplace Violence Protection Order: Several states allow an employer to ask the court for a restraining order to protect their employees from harassment, violence, or threats of violence in the workplace.
  • Juvenile Restraining Order: a juvenile restraining order is similar to a civil harassment order but is intended to protect a juvenile (person under the age of 18) from harassment or threats of violence by a non-family member. The order can be issued against another juvenile or an adult.
  • Dependent Adult or Elder Abuse Order: Some adults might be at risk of abuse because of age or mental or physical incapacity. A restraining order can be obtained on their behalf to protect them against potential abusers.

How Long Do Restraining Orders Last?

A restraining order’s duration depends on its type and the facts of the case. If a restraining order is issued before the court has reviewed the facts, it will only last for a few days or weeks. There will usually be a hearing before the order expires.

The court will hear from both sides and decide whether a permanent restraining order is necessary and appropriate. It may take years for a permanent order to expire.

Some states allow the court to issue a longer restraining order depending on the circumstances. Texas, for instance, has a two-year limit on domestic violence restraining orders.

It is possible, however, for the court to issue an order for a longer period if certain facts exist.

The abuser may have committed a felony against the victim or another family member or household member. You can also request a hearing to modify, extend, or remove a restraining order.

How Are Restraining Orders Enforced?

Keep a copy of your restraining order with you at all times. The order should be made available to everyone who is protected by it. Keep a copy in a safe place and keep it on file with your local police department.

When a restraining order is violated, the first step should be to call the police. Show the police the restraining order when they arrive. Disobeying a court order is a crime, and the police can arrest the abuser.

A court hearing will determine if the order was violated and, if so, what punishment will be imposed. The court may impose a civil or criminal penalty.

Those who violate a restraining order to protect a business or building may be subject to civil penalties, such as monetary fines. The violation of a restraining order that protects a person or people from violence, stalking, or harassment can result in civil or criminal penalties. If the abuser violated the restraining order in addition to committing a crime, they might also face criminal charges.

Can You Contest a Restraining Order?

You must comply with a temporary restraining order if you have been served with one. Collect evidence related to the incident or incidents that led to the order. Identify witnesses who may have relevant information.

It will be necessary for you to bring evidence to the hearing if the information used to obtain a restraining order against you is inaccurate.

If children are involved, or a restraining order affects access to your home or workplace, then the court might consider those factors and address them in the final restraining order. Even if a restraining order forces someone to leave their home or prevents them from working, it can still be issued.

What if I Don’t Have a Green Card?

Restraining orders are valid even if you do not have a green card. The people that work at the courthouse do not work for INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services). See an attorney if you are concerned about deportation (removal). Immigration laws can be complex and difficult to understand at times, but an attorney can provide you with clear explanations of the law.

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Have a Restraining Order against Me?

You should see a criminal lawyer if there is a restraining order against you. An attorney would benefit you since criminal charges may be involved because the order may affect or restrict your rights and movements.

Consult with an experienced attorney if you are considering a restraining order. Contact a criminal attorney or family law attorney near you if you need a restraining order or have been served with one.

The court will decide whether or not to issue a permanent restraining order at the hearing. Other ways to protect yourself, your family, and your assets can also be discussed with an attorney. Use LegalMatch to find the right lawyer for your needs today.


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